We always like to keep an eye out for innovation in our field. And with the fast-paced society that we live in, we actually found a recovery idea from New York to be rather inspiring. In two of their local counties officials have introduced Mobile Treatment Vehicles, which are staffed with nurses, counselors and peer advocates and offer sobriety support on the go.
Built to specifically tackle the state’s growing opioid crisis, these mobile units received a big introduction on January 23 and are now in full effect. The white vans are completely unmarked and contain tools, resources and personnel trained to handle all sorts of recovery scenarios. Traveling across the counties of Erie and Niagara, they are able to respond to emergency calls ranging from overdoses to cries for help.
“One of the solutions is to take professional, experienced individuals to where the problem is occurring,” New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul told a crowd at the van ribbon-cutting ceremony. “There are so many rural areas where it’s impossible for these small counties to have the resources, have facilities. It’s tough for people to get time off work.”
Indeed, these regions of New York have been hit particularly hard by the crisis. Erie reported 316 opioid-related deaths last year and Niagara wasn’t far behind. The units were built by an organization called Best Self Behavioral Health and were partially funded by a $1.7 million grant from the state’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
And it doesn’t take a phone call to receive help. These vans also patrol local streets, keeping an eye for people who may be using or suffering from an overdose. They make a point to frequent common areas where drug use has been reported, such as parks, libraries and common public areas.
“We like to call it ‘street outreach’,” Best Self CEO Howard Hitzel explained on TheFix.com. “We want to figure out, working in conjunction with local communities, how best to reach people and get them rapid access to care. We have pulled up to individuals on the street, people sitting near corners. You would be surprised how many people are ready to talk to you.”
The Buffalo News went so far as to offer an inside look of one of the vehicles, illustrating their state-of-the-art treatment equipment and medical devices. You can see for yourself below…
In our opinion, this is a great way to market recovery and deserves all of the publicity that it’s receiving. And seeing how Los Angeles is such a heavily trafficked city, we wouldn’t mind adding one to our streets as well.